White House Visitor Center Rehabilitation and Closure Information
The White House Visitor Center is closed for rehabilitation. A temporary visitor center is located near the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, just west of the intersection of 15th and E streets, NW.
White House Fence Restoration and Sidewalk Closure
The National Park Service is restoring the White House fence along Pennsylvania Avenue, portions of which are believed to date back to 1818. During this restoration work, sections of the White House sidewalk will be temporarily closed for public safety. More »
Construction Project Affecting the White House Sidewalk
Due to a construction project, a portion of both the White House sidewalk and Pennsylvania Avenue near East Executive Avenue will be closed until April 2015.
Things To Do
Attend a Ranger Program
Immerse yourself in the national park the President of the United States calls home. Hear stories of the presidents and first families who have called the White House home, and learn of the different memorials and special places that make up President's Park.Ranger programs are usually offered Tuesdays through Saturdays. These programs typically start at the Temporary White House Visitor Center and are free of charge. We welcome groups of all sizes, but request that groups larger than 25 make arrangements in advance. For a full listing of programs, you can visit our online schedule of events, or download the schedule (PDF format).
White House Visitor Center - Temporarily Closed for Rehabilitation
A temporary visitor center is open near the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, just west of the intersection of 15th and E Streets, NW.
• Walk through six permanent exhibits relating to the White House including the First Families In the White House, Symbols and Images, White House Architecture, White House Interiors, Working White House, and Ceremonies and Celebration.
• Stop at the information booth for a free map and brochures.
• The White House Visitor Center is housed in Baldrige Hall, named for Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige (1981-85). When the new Department of Commerce building opened in 1932, this space originally served as the Patent Search Room. For the next 35 years, researchers came to Baldrige Hall to search more than three million patents catalogued by the Commerce Department. Baldrige Hall's rich historic legacy, stately architectural features, and proximity to the White House made it an ideal location for the White House Visitor Center, which opened in 1995. Visit the Commerce Department's website to see images and other information on the history of Baldrige Hall and its use.
President's Park South
• Stroll through the park.
• Walk a lap or two around the Ellipse sidewalk. (one lap = 0.6 mile)
• Learn about the Ellipse, First Division Monument, General William T. Sherman Monument, Butt-Millet Fountain, Haupt Fountains, District Patentees Memorial, Boy Scout Memorial, Zero Milestone, Second Division Memorial, Bullfinch Gatehouses, and National Christmas Tree
• Find the "BIG RED ONE" flower bed during the spring and summer seasons.
• Participate in annual special events such as the Easter Egg Roll, White House Fall and Spring Garden Tours, or Christmas Pageant of Peace; stop by the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion or the White House Visitor Center for the most current schedule.
• Observe park wildlife such as gray squirrels, migratory birds, and an occasional sighting of a red-tailed hawk, or bald eagle. For your safety, please do not feed the squirrels. They will bite.
• Take photographs of the White House, Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial and the surrounding monuments and buildings.
• Stroll through the park.
• View the manicured grounds and gardens.
• Learn about the history of five statues in Lafayette Park. In the center stands an equestrian statue of President Andrew Jackson, and in the four corners are statues of Revolutionary War heroes: France's General Marquis Gilbert de Lafayette and Major General Comte Jean de Rochambeau; Poland's General Thaddeus Kosciuszko; and Prussia's Major General Baron Frederich Wilhelm von Steuben.
• Take photographs of the White House, Lafayette Square and the surrounding buildings and monuments.
Did You Know?
In 1878 Rutherford B. Hayes held the first Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. It was held at the U.S. Capitol, but the children apparently caused such a ruckus on the grounds that Congress passed the Turf Protection Law to prohibit the area from being used as a playground in future years.